Review Archive

‘Winter’s End’ from Oxfordshire-based alternative, dark-folk band Samuel Zasada

(July 18, 2013)

Have you heard the ‘Winter’s End’ EP from Oxfordshire-based alternative, dark-folk band Samuel Zasada? Winters EndNot sure? Then you haven’t. Believe me you would remember them, and if you haven’t, in my opinion you should. It’s a reasonable bet that this music will not suit all tastes. Should you feel ever so slightly down and ill at ease with the world then this is probably not the best antidote. However, if a slightly unconventional approach with singular vocals and unusual harmonies intrigues then ‘Winter’s End’ could be the one for you.

The centre of Samuel Zasada is singer David Ashbourne who delivers their intangible, yet thoughtful lyrics with an edgy, complex vocal style that will have some ears a touch on edge – but persevere and soon you could not imagine anyone else delivering their message. The harmony-intensive, string-driven title track ‘Winter’s End’ opens proceedings and sets the scene for the Samuel Zasada sound. Like this one and the following tracks - ‘Between the Ground and Sky’ with its complex melody structure and the more percussive ‘Lifelessly’ with layered vocals, ‘strange-brew feel’ and chant-like backing vocals - are bound to attract.

There’s an elusive touch to ‘Scratching’, again those idiosyncratic vocals and elusive lyrics but also an intense coda that works rather well, although the quick cut at the end is slightly disconcerting. And to wrap there’s the slightly sombre feeling but honest lyrics of ‘Denser Plains’. There’s a certain ‘something’ to Samuel Zasada – not easy to quantify but ultimately engrossing.

Samuel Zasada are David Samuel Ashbourne (vocals, guitar, banjo, pitch pipe, keys) Luci Ashbourne (guitar, backing vocals) Stephen Hare (bass, backing vocals) and Tom McKibbin (drums, percussion, backing vocals). All the songs on ‘Winter’s End’ were written by David Ashbourne, it was engineered, recorded, mixed and mastered by Martin Newton, produced by Samuel Zasada and Martin Newton and releases on Big Red Sky Records.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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